The Stuff of Life

Film Recommendation

Dirt! (2009)

Digging Around for a Better Understanding

This fascinating and informative documentary explores the significance, and current state, of our planet’s soil. The film highlights the fundamental importance of this complex and limited resource, and the rampant destruction that is underway. The injection of petrol-based chemicals and poisons to both “fertilize” the land and destroy would-be pests has very real consequences, and those that live and work with the soil share what they have observed.


the Consequences

Once again the perpetrators of this demolition are hubris and greed. What may possibly have stemmed from good intentions (although the doc reminds us that many of these chemicals originated in war as a means of sowing death), is in fact having a detrimental effect on the land, as well as the water and air, that supports all life. The natural world is a complex network, and there are serious repercussions to the short term gains received by these artificial injections. As David Suzuki reminds us in his book The Sacred Balance, “nature is more than the sum of its parts.” We now know better, but corporate greed keeps these chemicals flowing.


Disseminating Affliction

It is a common misconception that these artificial substances are now needed to sustain the vast human population (click HERE for more on that). This is simply not true, and is consciously perpetuated by the colossal agri-chem companies. The top five include Syngenta, Bayer, Dow and Dupont, BASF, and Monsanto (although Bayer is now looking to acquire Monsanto). These multi-billion dollar companies are highly motivated to sell their products to farmers around the world, and to keep selling them on a yearly (seasonal) basis. Farmers are strongly encouraged to try out these chemicals and see their crop yields increase.

In Defense of Dirt

What is less advertised however is the impact these products have on the farmers and growers, and ultimately the soil itself (see What’s Eating the Planet?). On the one hand, the health of those working in the field will be adversely affected by the stuff they’re spraying (hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide, with countless others sickened), on the other, the soil itself is being stripped of its nutrients and will require constant injections. Compare this with sustainable organic farming practices, which can continue in perpetuity, and organic agriculture wins out. We can feed the planet, and protect our soil. In fact, we need to protect the soil if we want to protect life.

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